Top 5 Gardens to Visit in Suzhou

Written by Ruru Zhou Updated Sep. 21, 2023

Suzhou has a reputation for its classical gardens, which are typical traditional Chinese gardens. Most of them are private gardens that were built from the Spring and Autumn Period to the Qing Dynasty. These gardens reached a climax in the mid-Ming to early Qing dynasties (16th–18th centuries). Nowadays, more than 50 well-preserved gardens exist in Suzhou, nine of which have been incorporated into the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1997.

Suzhou Garden Map

The Humble Administrator‘s Garden and Lingering Garden are the most famous gardens in Suzhou and should not be missed. As Suzhou s gardens are similar, it s recommended to visit one or two gardens, which will be enough.

Contact us via WeChat

for any inquiry

Scan ChinaTravel QR Code


Here, we have detailed the top five gardens.

1. The Humble Administrator's Garden

Humble Administrators Garden Humble Administrators Garden

The Humble Administrator‘s Garden (Chinese: 拙政园; Pinyin: Zhuo Zheng Yuan) is located in Gusu District. With an area of 5.2 hectares, it is the largest garden and recognized as one of the four most famous gardens in China. A pond is in the center of the garden and it features pavilions, bridges, corridors, and islands around it.

The garden was built in 1509 during the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) and is a representative garden of the Ming Dynasty. The garden is divided into three parts consisting of the Eastern Garden, the Central Garden, and the Western Garden. The Central Garden is the essence of the Humble Administrator‘s Garden. In addition, Suzhou Garden Museum is located in the south of the garden, showing the different styles of gardening.

2. Lingering Garden

Suzhou Lingering Garden Suzhou Lingering Garden

Lingering Garden (Chinese: 留园; Pinyin: Liu Yuan) is an exquisite and beautiful Jiangnan-style garden and is famous for its amazing stones. It is a masterpiece garden from the Qing Dynasty. Together with the Summer Palace in Beijing, Chengde Mountain Resort, and the Humble Administrator‘s Garden in Suzhou, the garden is one of the top four gardens in China. It is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites and a national 5A tourist site. Compared with the Humble Administrator's Garden, it is less crowded. The garden is divided into four sections: East, Central, West, and North. It features buildings in the East section, a landscape garden in the center section, which is the oldest part of the garden, an artificial hill in the West section, and an idyllic landscape in the North section.

3. Lion Grove Garden

Suzhou Lion Grove Garden Suzhou Lion Grove Garden

As one of the top four gardens in Suzhou, Lion Grove Garden (Chinese: 狮子林; Pinyin: Shi Zi Lin) has a history of more than 650 years and was created during the Yuan Dynasty. In the northeast corner, there are amazing large-scale rockeries with different shapes — lots of them are vivid lion-shaped rockeries. Lion Grove Garden was influenced by Buddhist culture. It was built in 1342 during the Yuan Dynasty by Monk Tianru in memory of his master — Abbot Zhongfeng.

4. The Master of Nets Garden

Suzhou Master of Nets Garden Night View Suzhou Master of Nets Garden Night View

The Master of Nets Garden (Chinese: 网师园; Pinyin: Wang Shi Yuan) was constructed in the Song Dynasty and originally called Yu Yin. Its name was changed to the Master of the Nets Garden during the Qing Dynasty. It is a typical Jiangnan private garden and its the smallest garden in Suzhou. Most of its owners have been scholars so you can see a lot of poetry and inscriptions in the garden. The Master of the Nets Garden is the only garden that opens to the public at night from April to October. If you have missed a Suzhou garden or want to experience a special night garden, the Master of the Nets Garden is the best choice. It s also possible to see a Kunqu Opera performance at night. The garden consists of a residence, the central main garden, and an inner garden.

5. The Canglang Pavilion

The Canglang Pavilion (Chinese: 沧浪亭; Pinyin: Canglang Pavilion) is the oldest garden in Suzhou, having been built in the Northern Song Dynasty (960–1127), and is a classic example of gardens from the Song Dynasty. Near Sanyuanfang in the south of Suzhou, the garden is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Water runs through the garden, making it even more special. Visiting the Great Wave Pavilion on a slightly rainy day is a great way to enjoy this traditional Chinese garden.

Contact us via WeChat

for any inquiry

Scan ChinaTravel QR Code


Useful Tips for Visiting Suzhou‘s Gardens

1. To arrange your tour properly, please be aware that some gardens stop selling tickets half an hour before the closing time.

2. Suzhou s gardens are popular — try to visit the gardens on weekdays and arrive early in the morning to avoid large tour groups.

Suzhou Pingjiang Road Suzhou Pingjiang Road

Tour Suzhou s Gardens with Us

The classical gardens of Suzhou are full of culture, architecture, and history. Traveling with a professional guide and private driver is helpful to learn more background information about the gardens and Suzhou. Here are our most popular Suzhou tours:

Our tours are flexible and can be tailor-made to suit your tour ideas.

Create My Trip

Need Help?

Request a custom itinerary today and get one step closer to your personalized trip

Create Your Trip